Contraception and Pregnancy Prevention

Habif Health and Wellness Center provides contraceptive resources for students on campus.

You can schedule an appointment online with a provider. They can help you learn more about which methods of contraception might best align with your lifestyle and preferences.

Emergency Contraception

All forms of emergency contraception are available at Habif Health and Wellness Center and may be covered by your insurance at no cost to you.

What is Emergency Contraception?

Emergency contraception (EC) is a “back up” birth control method used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex, or when a contraceptive measure fails.  It is most effective if taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex.

There are a few options for EC:

  1. Ilipristal acetate (UPA, Ella)
  2. Levonorgestrel (Plan B One Step)

All options are available at Washington University in St. Louis. We encourage you to book an appointment online with any of our providers to discuss which option is right for you. Next-day appointments open up every evening in primary care. You can also walk in to speak with our triage nurse.

Ella is an anti-progestin pill. It is the most effective emergency contraceptive pill. It is effective up to five days after unprotected sex and is available by prescription.

Plan B One-Step is an over-the-counter pill that contains concentrated doses of progestin, a hormone found in daily birth control pills. It is effective up to three days after unprotected sex.

The data is suggestive – but not definitive – that weight (greater than 165 lbs.) may affect the efficacy of the medicine  in Plan B One-Step.

EC should only be used in emergency situations, including after unprotected sex, contraceptive failure, slippage or breakage, a missed contraceptive shot, pill, patch, etc., or unwanted sex/sexual assault.

Emergency contraception may be used as many times as needed, but it should not substitute for regular contraception because it is not as effective as other forms of contraception.

EC does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV.  If you are concerned that you may have contracted an STI, you can schedule an appointment or visit Habif  in person.

The “morning after” pill

EC is often referred to as the morning-after pill because it can be taken “the morning after” unprotected sex to help prevent pregnancy. EC is not an abortion pill. Mifepristone, formerly known as RU-486 and also called “the abortion pill,” is a drug that induces abortion when administered in early pregnancy. This is totally different from any emergency contraceptive. EC cannot end a pregnancy that has already started.

How Emergency Contraception Works

EC is safe. EC is FDA-approved and has been used by millions of women around the world safely and effectively. Some women report minor side effects such as nausea, vomiting, cramping, fatigue, headache, dizziness, breast tenderness and/or menstrual changes.

How Can I Get Emergency Contraception?

We encourage you to book an appointment online with any of our providers to discuss which option is right for you. Next-day appointments open up every evening in primary care. You can also walk in to speak with our triage nurse. Plan B One-Step is available directly from our pharmacy during business hours or any pharmacy when Habif is closed. We encourage you to book an appointment online with any of our providers to discuss which option is right for you. Next-day appointments open up every evening in primary care. You can also walk in to speak with our triage nurse.

What if I may have been raped?

If you are taking Emergency Contraception because of a sexual assault, please be aware that Washington University provides survivor support services through the RSVP Center and other university systems. We encourage you to talk with professionals trained to listen to your concerns and provide guidance.

 

Health Tips

  • EC does not protect against STIs.
  • To minimize risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), use condoms or dental dams properly during sexual activity.
  • To minimize risk of unplanned pregnancy, consider all contraception options.
  • Free safer sex supplies (internal and external condoms, dams, and lube) and pregnancy tests are available at the Habif Health & Wellness Center and the Zenker Wellness Suite in the Sumers Recreation Center.
  • STI screening is offered at low or no cost on- and off-campus.
  • Alcohol and other drugs affect judgment, impede the ability to consent, and can lead to unsafe sex.

More Information

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